Good Samaritan - You can't work your way to heaven.
............................................... ggggggggggg.. .Passage:
one] [point two] [point three]..
boy stood beside his dad in the garage. For days the little boy had
been trying to fix his bicycle but with no success.
pride the little chap had scorned his dad's previous offer to do it
for him. Stubbornly he had tried to do it for himself, but he simply couldn't
And now as
his dad with a glint in his eye gives a long list of detailed
mechanical information, which is not only going to take skill to
perform but muscle power that the little boy doesn't have, the boy's
pride subsides and he says dad, I can't, will you do it for me.
Now I am
sure that all of us have been in some situation like that, where we
thought that we could do something but came to be aware that we
couldn't and needed someone else to do it for us
Let me read
you tonight a story from the Bible where a man came to Jesus one day
thinking that he could do something but Jesus showed him that he couldn't
If you are
not yet a Christian tonight Jesus told the famous parable of the Good
Samaritan especially for people like you.
And He told
it with the purpose that you like the little boy in the garage will
come to see that you can't do something yourself and that you will
cry out to God.
this story primarily so that people will see that they can't get to
heaven by their so called good works.
He told it
that people would stop trusting in themselves and turn to Jesus
Christ and receive through personal faith and repentance the new life
He has to offer.
also speaks to anyone who has become a Christian and says here is how
you and I are now to live in thanksgiving to God for His mercy
thing that we note in this portion of the Bible is:
interesting question: [top]
that as Jesus was talking one day a questioner approached him.
behold a certain lawyer stood up and tempted Him, saying, Master,
what shall I do to inherit eternal life."
It was a
good question on the surface of things wasn't it, in fact in some
ways there is no more important question that someone could ask. Here
is a man who seems concerned for his soul, wants to know how to get
interesting that people can ask so many questions in life about this
and that and never ask the most important question, how can I as a
sinner become right with the God who has made me.
this question was of itself a good question it wasn't quite right was
it, there was something intrinsically wrong about it.
And we get
that sense that all is not right when we see how the Lord Jesus
responded to this man.
you have responded, someone asks what must I do to get to heaven.
Well if this man had asked me, I would have been right in there,
"You need to be saved, you need to go to Jesus, acknowledge you
are a sinner, trust in His finished work on the cross to deal with
your sin. Come to Him now and He'll save you."
doesn't do that. Had Jesus not read all the books on how to know and
tell the gospel?
answers the man's question by asking him a question, v26 "What
it written in the law ...
how do you read it."
You see this
was most probably a trick question that the man asked and Jesus could
see the man's motive. It seems that this expert in the law was
looking for Jesus to answer in a way that would mount up to blasphemy
and they could get rid of Jesus.
yet ready to reveal Himself in a way that would lead to His death,
His time had not yet come.
And so Jesus
directs Him back to the law the very thing that he was hoping that
Jesus would say something against and then they would have Him.
You see the
man's initial question was a leading question, it was a question with
a hidden agenda. You've had them haven't you.
And as Jesus
asks the man a question in return, he wants the man to answer it. "How
do you read it."
Jesus uses here for read it means to read aloud. Jesus was saying to
the man - when you read out the Bible in church what does it say.
Can we see
what Jesus was doing here - He was making this man with his trick
question face up to an important truth.
And Jesus in
His great love for sinners wants you to face up to the truth today,
He wants you to lay aside all your questions that are off track and
get down to really important spiritual questions.
What sort of
questions are you asking Jesus today in your heart? Speaking with a
teenage girl at weekend - so many questions - where did God come
from, why did sin have to come into the world? The question that
Jesus wants you to think about is - what does His law say?
in the law's reply is right on the button, "Love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbour as yourself."
If his dad
could have heard him, how proud he would have been. Text book answer.
He had been taught these verses from infancy, quotes from the law of
God in Deut & Leviticus, they were engrained in his mind and fell
off his tongue with ease, he was after all an expert in the law.
tells Him without any further comment, v28 "do this and you
The tense of
the verb says do so continually&ldots;..keep on doing so.
It is as if
Jesus says to the expert, you want to know what you have to DO
if you want to get to heaven.
God's law, keep the commandments perfectly, those ones directed
towards God and those ones directed towards man, keep them all
continually, and perfectly and you will live.
this and you will live."
marvelous reply of the Lord. He is speaking to a man who believes
that he can get right with God by keeping God's law - by DOING.
And so Jesus
says to Him - Ok so you think you can sort things out between you and
God by obeying the commandments, that your best effort is good
enough. Then practice what you preach.
friends what Jesus wants this expert in the law to grasp is that it
is impossible to keep the law the way God requires.
He wants to
show this man that sinners are saved not by works but by grace, by
God's free unmerited gift of salvation to needy sinners.
are here tonight and you are still thinking that if you could weigh
the balance of good things in your favour then you could get in to
God's good books.
you imagine that you are already in God's good books because you are
decent and never done as you imagine anyone any harm so to speak.
If you want
to leave Jesus out of the equation fine - you have another option
Jesus is saying - without ever slipping up love God in the way He has
prescribed and love everyone else in the world the way you should.
"this do and thou shalt live,"
the trouble is you can't
Simple Illustration [top]
is rather peeved with the Lord's reply, perhaps you are too. And to
try and duck what Jesus is saying to him, what Jesus is hitting him
between the eyes with the lawyer tries to divert the attention away
he wanting to justify himself said to Jesus, And who is my neighbour?"
that this man was struck by what Jesus had said, it seems that he
suddenly felt the force of God's Word that he could never keep the
law. But he is panicing that he is uncovered so he asks another
question as a cover up. Jesus define the limit? - Who is my neighbour?
reply Jesus doesn't answer his question, but tells the famous parable
of the Good Samaritan and then at the end asks the man to interpret
Isn't it the
most mind capturing vivid illustration. The people who were listening
that day would have known this road only too well, if they had had
newspaper reports - bandit attacks on this road would have been
headline news every day
It was a
dangerous road to travel. It was bandit alley. The two places were
not that far apart, about 18 miles. But it was a steep road, Jericho
being 1000 feet below sea level and Jerusalem 3000 above sea level.
limestone rocks of the area had been carved into steep sided gullies
ideal territory for hold ups by bandits.
road a certain man was given a real beating, mugged and left for
dead. But things were looking up, two religious men were coming along
- a priest and a levite - but they didn't want to get involved and so
both passed by on the other side.
they conjured up some well sounding excuses to leave this man dying
in a growing pool of his own blood. They passed by even though their
law said they should stop Ex 23v4&5 even though just been to church.
Jesus said v33 "But a certain Samaritan as he journeyed came
he was. And when he saw him had compassion on him."
know I am sure that the Jews and Samaritans hated and indeed still
loathe each other.
and prejudices had historic roots. The Samaritans were descendants of
the 10 tribes who had revolted againsts Jeroboam in 922BC.
their history they had intermarried with Assyrians. They were half
breeds as afar as Jews concerned, compromisers. The Jews and
Samaritans hated and despised each other.
It is rather
ironic that in Jesus story it is a Samaritan that comes to the rescue
- who takes pity, who acts in compassion and persisted in the care of
the victim at great personal cost.
This is the
sort of love that we need in Northern Ireland isn't it. The sort of
love and care and compassion that reaches out to people who are the
This sort of
love that takes risks and involves personal cost and true compassion
is the only peace remedy for a land torn apart by hatred and
prejudice for generations.
This is the
type of peace plan that will succeed. But the trouble is that men and
women by nature cannot love like this. That is why Jesus told this parable.
in the law had come wanting to set limits to who his neighbour would
be. Wanting to indulge in some theoretical intellectual gymnastics.
But Jesus is saying ah no you don't do that. A neighbour is anyone
who needs help, no matter who they are.
And so Jesus
forces this expert into a corner, "So which of these three do
you think was a neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?" v36
expert can't even say Samaritan - it sticks in his throat and all he
can reply is "he who showed mercy on him."
come Jesus final shots across the bows of the man's conscience - v37 "go
and do likewise."
Do we see
the Lord's argument. Here is a man saying he can earn heaven, by
trying to be decent. And Jesus is saying OK you want to try that
route - then love everyone like this Samaritan did.
are here this tonight and so far you have not entered into a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ, you are trying to work your way to
heaven. Many so-called Protestants fall into that trap.
Well you can
work your way to heaven if you can love like this Samaritan did all
of the time. You can't, you haven't, you won't. Did you jump
immediately the meal was finished tonight to help with the dishes?
That neighbour who has been in such bother - did you go to help? That
terrorist who walked free from prison - did you love him, pray for
everyone that came through those revolling gates - love your
neighbour as yourself.
loved God with all that you are all of the time always putting Him at
the centre of your life.
you to come to your senses - YOU CAN'T DP IT and go to Him for new
life. It is only when we have received new hearts that we can really
begin to love God and our neighbour as ourself.
And there is
a challenge here too for the true Xn.
we claim to have been made anew by Jesus Christ we should be learning
to develop the love that this Samaritan displayed for it is the love
that Jesus says we should have for others.
care that does not hinge on someone's background, a compassion that
is not hampered by that fact that someone else has different opinions
and ideas than us.
Go and do
likewise Jesus says to us. Live like the man who showed true mercy,
don't stop to ask about someone's background, don't worry what others
say - just do it.
in the law was a man who helped only his friends. Jesus says love
also your enemies. This expert was stuck in the past. Jesus was
saying don't live in your past prejudices.
if we are not seeking to live as Jesus said we are to live then we
have no Scriptural reason for believing that we are saved at all.
Great Solution [top]
ultimate purpose in this parable was to show people who thought they
could get right with God by what they do that that is totally impossible.
He told this
parable so that people could see that by nature we cannot live the
way Jesus said we should, it is a parable to shake the idea of
working our way to heaven out of our minds.
we ask well if we can't DO something to inherit eternal life is there
hope for sinners.
course the answer is yes. You see Jesus is the ultimate Good
Samaritan. He came to rescue people who were his vowed enemies.
How do we
receive what Jesus has to offer? Not by DOING but by turning away
from sin and placing our trust in Jesus as our personal Saviour.
is left without a conclusion, we are not told how the man responded
to Jesus clear teaching. Did he react in the right way or go off in a
huff at having been shown his sin.
How do you
finish off the parable? You write in the ending friends from your
life - and make it the proper ending - Lord I see how foolish I have
been to imagine that I could earn my way to heaven, forgive me for
the insult that I have caused you, forgive my foolishness forgetting
about you and death, forgive my pride resting on own religious efforts.
I see my sin
now Lord, I see that Jesus is the answer, be my Saviour Lord, cleanse
me on the grounds of all that Jesus achieved on Calvary, take me in
to your family.